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December 26, 2013

YULE TIDE CLASSIC: Bearcats extend win streak to four with 75-39 beatdown of Boaz, Cullman girls also victorious

HANCEVILLE — When Cullman battled its way to an inaugural Yule Tide Classic title last season, it certainly did so in a rather thrilling fashion.

The Bearcats eked past their three opponents by one, three and four points each, respectively, en route to a well-deserved championship trophy.

This year, however, coach Bobby Meyer’s squad took a less diplomatic approach in their opening-round contest with Boaz.

Cullman jumped on the Pirates from the opening whistle, as 12 different Bearcats scored at least two points in a 75-39 runaway thumping on Thursday night.

“We came out, shot well and built a nice lead,” Meyer said. “I thought we played well on offense. I was afraid we might look somewhat lethargic after the long break, but we didn’t. We had fresh legs, and we shot the ball a lot better because of that.”

Junior Lawson Schaffer led the first-quarter charge, notching 11 points in the frame to help his team build an insurmountable 26-6 cushion early in the contest.

The Bearcats extended their advantage to 25 points heading into halftime following a half-court shot from Jason McAfee — his second 3-pointer of the frame — as time expired.

The second half was merely a formality, as Cullman continued to substitute in waves to rest players all the way until the very end of the blowout victory.

Schaffer finished with 18 points, while senior Lane Donaldson was good for nine. Auston Neal, Chase Slocumb and McAfee all collected eight points in the win as well.

Other Bearcat contributors included Keaton Dean, six points; Seth Swalve and Nick Handley, four; Lee Mattox and Austin Beck, three; and Fletcher Reeling and Joseph Franey, two.

Meyer’s squad is now 9-5 on the year and will face Class 6A Gardendale in the semifinals Friday at 8 p.m. The Rockets beat Cullman 74-73 earlier in the season.

“They're a tough team,” Meyer said. “We’re looking forward to a rematch. Our transition defense wasn't very good when we played them last. We gave up too many easy buckets, so we need to improve on that in order to win.”

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